Sick of hearing about DevOps? It hasn’t even started.

I got a lot of flack about my last post from people who are jaded and tired of hearing about things that they interpret as being “what we’ve been doing forever”. If that’s the case, I’m sorry that you’re getting annoyed, but you should know – this is about to blow up in ways that you can’t possibly imagine.

Today, this morning, PuppetLabs is releasing the 2014 State of DevOps Report, and there is news. News that you might not want to hear, but will, and from unlikely sources.

Let me do something that I almost never do, and that’s to quote the press release:

To produce the survey and report, Puppet Labs partnered with Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win; Jez Humble, co-author of Continuous Delivery and Lean Enterprise and Principal at ThoughtWorks; and Dr. Nicole Forsgren Velasquez, a professor at the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University and an expert on the impacts of IT, knowledge management and user experience.

“This year’s survey is the first rigorous study to confirm that DevOps practices and strong IT performance can drive real business value,” said Nigel Kersten, CIO of Puppet Labs. “Now we have the data to back up our contention that IT should be treated as a strategic asset to the business, not a cost center. Organizations that get this are going to pull ahead of competitors, getting their products to market faster and responding more quickly to customer feedback.”

I’m good friends with Dr Forsgren Velasquez, and I talked with her about this. The measurable performance differences between companies that implement DevOps practices and those that don’t are significant enough that companies will take notice. They won’t be able to afford not to.

For those of you with companies that are actively trying to compete in a competitive market, it may get uncomfortable. This news is going to be in business journals, it’s going to be a selling point, and we are going to be expected to have answers when questions come.

Everyone who has been saying, “This is the same thing that we’ve always been doing”, let me ask you – if you’ve always been doing it, does your company have a superior IT infrastructure over your competitors? Are you actively making your company better at what your company does? Because when these results hit the Wall Street Journal, these are questions that you are likely to be facing. Or, at least, the people who run your companies are likely to ask themselves the same thing.

Right now, I work at an educational institution. I don’t have a dog in this fight (though there are clearly advantages to operating even a college infrastructure according to the principles of DevOps), but I just want you to know and be aware of this. It’s not coming down the pike – it’s right on top of us. Don’t get run over by it.

  • Frederic Woodbridge

    The bane of the technician is the non-technical CxO who reads the Wall Street Journal. From such horrors may the good Lord deliver us. ;)

  • @Frederic No, the bane of the technician is when the technician is more worried about tech and tech process then the business process it supports. “Management by in-flight magazine” is of course frightful to behold, but the idea of DevOps, aligning service delivery with the needs of the business (and the rest of the business recognizing the impact of IT systems in their value stream), can make work a whole lot more fun.

  • Samir Cury

    Read your previous post too, pretty interesting. So I have been watching the progress of “DevOps”, Puppet Labs, including watching live their talks and their people in a conference here in LA.

    It looks like that they are doing a very good marketing job to convince people that they have/are the ultimate solution for most of the infra-structure problems. Which is fine as they have to sell their fish and generate revenue.

    When it starts to sound bad, is a typical human attitude also observed in religion and software development world that is — “if you are not doing like this, you are not solving the problem”.

    It’s not because one has a good solution, that it invalidates all others, and a lot of times, the stakeholders of these “new solutions” assume this behavior, which in my case generates a bit of aversion or at least some healthy skepticism.

    I could mention an example as the same puppet syntax promoted 18 months ago is now demonized by the same guys, even if it still does the job, but that would take too long.

    To cut the story short, what has been developed and presented over the last 2 years, is a bit of a big change in some organizations workflow. Training, learning, testing, migrating, adapting to these practices (that keep changing btw), also has a high-cost of both time and money.

    I wonder according to who or what the “measurable performance differences” were stablished, but that’s another story. I personally don’t think that it is impossible to have an efficient, productive and constantly evolving IT infra-structure before all these concepts were formalized together.

    Neverthless, these practices and reports are a new perspective and approach, and should be considered by all of us, of course. We just need to be careful to not be too extreme and let too much marketing to cause resource waste.

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